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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

McIlroy still in the hunt for FedEx Cup despite 'too many mistakes' in New Jersey

The world number three also weighed in on the issue of slow play at The Northern Trust this weekend.

Rory McIlroy finished in the top six at The Northern Trust in New Jersey.
Rory McIlroy finished in the top six at The Northern Trust in New Jersey.
Image: John Jones

RORY MCILROY FAILED to consolidate his position in the FedEx Cup rankings this weekend, insisting “too many mistakes” caused him to slip behind Patrick Reed at The Northern Trust in New Jersey.

The Northern Irishman began the day behind Dustin Johnson in the end-of-season standings, but a final round of 69 for Reed guided him to his first victory since last year’s triumph in Augusta.

A mixed day on course for McIlroy, including seven birdies and five bogeys, left him ruing missed opportunities to put the pressure on his American rival.

“I just made too many mistakes and I made too many mistakes over the weekend,” he told reporters after his round.

[It was] a bit of a roller coaster, up-and-down. I made seven birdies out there – I definitely made enough birdies to win the tournament. The good stuff’s in there. I’m just hitting too many sort of squirrely, loose shots and they are costing me.

“I bogeyed the two par-threes on the back nine just from hitting sort of bad iron shots. I was sort of fighting it a little bit this week. If anything, I’m proud of how I just sort of hung in there all week and finished strong today.

You know, put up another good finish. I’m only going to drop one spot in the FedEx Cup going into next week, so still go there and play well at Medinah. I’ve still got a chance to get that No. 1 spot going into Atlanta.”

GOLF: AUG 10 PGA - THE NORTHERN TRUST McIlroy admitted some of his iron play let him down this week. Source: Rich Graessle

Asked whether he was frustrated with his finish from the week in New Jersey, McIlroy said:  “I was -2 through six. I got to 12 and then obviously that’s where I finished and it was a bit of a roller coaster from there.

“I think I had four birdies and four bogeys from then on in. I don’t think the frustrating thing is not winning the tournament. The frustrating thing is not being in control of what I’m doing out there. That’s what I want to focus on the next few days going into Chicago.”

The 30-year-old was also asked about the issue of slow play on course following criticism of Bryson DeChambeau this weekend. A video emerged of the American taking more than two minutes to line up a putt, prompting the US PGA to evaluate its pace-of-play policy.

“Once the field was cut in half after Friday, we got around there in three hours and 50 minutes in two-balls,” McIlroy explained.

“I think Justin Rose made a couple of good points [on Saturday] when he was talking about the pace of play. If it continues to be 144 or 156 players in the field, we might be able to shave ten or 15 minutes off. That’s basically what he said. But you get two-balls and it’s 70 players, and all of a sudden, you’re breaking four hours to get around.

So you know, I’m in a position of fortune that I’m one of the top players in the world and if they cut field sizes by 30%, I’d still be okay and still have a place to play. That’s obviously not the case for some other guys.

“You have fields of 156; it’s so bunched up and getting that many players around a golf course, it’s going to be tough to break four hours to do that. But you get 70 players out here at the weekend, two balls, and we’re cruising under four.

“I don’t know if that’s the solution. I had no problem with the pace of play today.”

PGA: THE NORTHERN TRUST - First Round Bryson DeChambeau faced criticism for slow play at the Liberty National GC this week. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

He added: “It annoys me if I’m playing with a slow player in a two-ball, but in a three you don’t really notice it because you’re expecting a three to be five hours.

But if you’re playing in a two-ball and you’re playing with someone that’s taking their time, it can annoy you. At this point, I think we’re just accustomed knowing that the first two days are going to be a little slower.”

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